Before, during, and hopefully after account of a Great Divide Route journey in the summer of 2010.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 10: Tuchuck to Whitefish, MT

Ride time: 5:55
Average: 10 mph
Distance: 59.28 mi

Oh. My. God.  Let me start off by saying that I cried before going to bed tonight.  Not because I'm sad, but because my body hurts and I'm emotionally drained from the day's events.  The odometer hit 300 miles today.  It started out at 240.  We pulled a "Double McCoy"--we did two days in one, according to the book.  We were originally supposed to go from Tuchuck to Red Meadow Lake, but we decided to bypass Red Meadow and shoot for Whitefish.

We woke up to giant mosquitoes waiting patiently outside the tent for us, so this helped us break camp in record time.  We parted ways with Ed, the gentleman we met last week and have been riding with ever since.  I'm sure we'll run into him again.  Nate and I hauled down the mountain, thanks to the 29" tires, only to get slowed down on North Fork Road.  It was so ridiculously bumpy with rocks that I could only go about 8 mph.  We stopped for lunch, and then began our climb up red Meadow Road to the campground.  The lactic acid from yesterday's ride was making this a painful ascent.

About 5 miles from the top, we heard thunder to the north and the clouds thickened to an eerie purple.  It was definitely pouring on the pass we had just come down.  Suddenly, Nate turns around and says, "Honey!  A bear!"  I misunderstood him at first (like I usually do), and thought he was talking about someone behind us.  I was not going that fast up the road, so I quickly jump off the bike, fumble for my bear spray, and try to run ahead and look for the bear at the same time.  About 100 feet in front of us, there was an adolescent black bear, checking out something in the road.  Nate was taking pictures.  The bear didn't notice us at first because we were down wind from him, but then he saw us and wasn't frightened of us at all.  In fact, he took a few steps toward us.  We then starting yelling, waving our arms, and kicking up rock to scare it away.  He finally got the hint and took off into the woods.  We quickly walked our bikes past the spot where he ducked into the woods, then hopped on and pedaled furiously just as the bear reappeared behind us now, clearly interested in something in the road.  We got about 100 feet away before the downpour set in.  A bit too close for my comfort to dismount and don rain gear, but we did it anyway and got fully clothed.  My nerves were shot at this point, but I hopped back on the bike and kept pedaling.  The rain quickly stopped, but the clouds loomed.  We pressed on the pass, ran through some snow on the trail (Nate almost wiped out going through it), and then raced down the other side.  The bear sighting definitely sealed the deal on getting to Whitefish...

After a quick, but painful 30 miles, we stopped at a BBQ place and split a full rack of ribs, coleslaw, beans, and a salad, which we promptly inhaled.
One of many eating frenzies